Before joining a startup

There are lot of articles giving you insights on why you should work for a startup and how it will shape your future etc. Most of these are about startup with 10+ people on board (including founders). I know, 10 is just a number, but it shows that the founders are convinced about what they are doing. Which means the team is matured, idea is matured, people know (sort of !) their plan.

What happens when there are less than 10 people ? 


Time

It is well known that you will never get free time in a startup. But if there are less than 10 people, then it becomes even more fun. 

You are involved in almost all the decision making, which means more meetings, discussions, heated debates. So you end up changing directions (in a small way) every single day. So your 1 hr spent on a problem, is probably going to change in next 5 hrs. You need to rush all the time.

If you can’t manage time, think again! 

Responsibility

Most people love startups because of freedom. Wednesday afternoon off, Sleeping in office hours, Playing games, Off the topic random  discussions, side projects that your team appreciate. You will have complete freedom in work, to bring your ideas to the table. All of this is true.

But it comes with “Responsibility”, which means its not about “coming up with ideas”, Its about thinking and executing anything and everything related to the idea. If a feature you implemented breaks during your “Weekend trip”, be ready to jump back to work.

If you are the person who thinks someone in the team will implement your idea, think again!

(Un)Learn

Startup attracts youth because of the speed, learning new things. True, but it is really about unlearning. Every tool you use breaks, as @MartyWeiner says in this talk “they breaks in their own special ways”. Do not carry forward your learnings based on assumption. If you are facing a problem, be ready to unlearn and start from scratch. Especially for Engineers, all the fancy tech stack that you will learn are not that simple when people are using your product. Every single user added, every single database entry, every server you setup will throw your previous learning to garbage. 

So if you are the kind of person who says “But, I thought…”, Think again!


I am not scaring you off. All I am trying to say is come prepared. See beyond the glories of startup stories.  Because it is going to be ONE HELL OF A JOURNEY.

See you on the other side. Cheers